Terror raids: 'The officers got bad information and are using it to scare everyone'

The last two officers on duty outside the former home of Hamzah Khan Shenwari, the only British national arrested in the raids, slipped away quietly yesterday afternoon.

They had been on duty outside the modest red brick terrace house around the clock since dozens of heavily armed officers swooped on an unsuspecting Galsworthy Avenue in Cheetham Hill, Manchester, 13 days ago with the aim of smashing an alleged terrorist plot. But as mothers walked with prams and children returned from school in the sunshine yesterday, the shock troops were long gone. So too were the forensic teams that had toiled for the best part of two weeks trying to find evidence against the two men that lived there. Shortly after lunch it was the turn of the uniformed guards to take their leave.

Mr Shenwari, who at 42 was the oldest of the group of associates, was considering his future with friends yesterday, hoping to make contact with his wife and children in Pakistan and make sure they were safe. Unlike the others he is not facing deportation but he wasn't planning on coming back to Cheetham Hill anytime soon, his lawyer Sawar Khan said.

The security guard's former neighbours meanwhile were left feeling a sense of both vindication and frustration that their community had once again been thrust into the unwelcome media spotlight. Ummair Shafiq, 21, has lived in and around Galsworthy Drive with his two brothers, sister and numerous cousins, all his life. "I can tell you what everyone thinks around here and that is that there is no terrorism," said the 21-year-old part-time student. "The police got bad information and they are just using it to scare everyone. It is just scare tactics.

"These people are not terrorists, they work nine to five, they are very religious. We have got used to it here. Every year there is going on to do with terrorism – it has become a daft game. But now people are afraid to talk and joke in case they get accused of being in al-Qa'ida. It is creating paranoia," he said.

Mohammed Mohammed, 19, said he had admired Mr Shenwari, praying with him at the local mosque. "He made me very welcome. I never expected something like this to happen," he said. "It makes me think that last time they took an innocent man now they might take me as well. But when we come to a country as Muslims we must obey the rules."

One Muslim father of four, who asked not to be identified, said he was glad to be back to normal after putting up with police cars running outside his house in the middle of the night, keeping his children awake. He said he was growing tired of explaining to them what was going on. "Every day they are asking me questions. They should have made sure everything was correct."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
News
i100
News
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own